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CableCard Programming Peculiarities

625 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  magredc5
Several times a month on my Sony KDLV40XBR1 set with Time Warner Cable, I get "Required Monthly Test" banners across the top of my screen which even invades other input modes, and the thing scrolls for a good 20 minutes if you don't change channels or inputs to try to get rid of it, and I thought this was very odd the first time I was watching a DVD or playing a game and this thing came through... I guess it is the television equivalent of the Emergency Broadcasting Center on the radio, but the funny thing is that they don't show up on the set top boxes I have...

Does everyone experience these with cablecard? Do they come on all inputs on all TVs? I think they really need to get rid of them or at least tone them down...

Another strange thing is pay-per-view programming, I seem to get a great many movies free and even porn for minutes at a time free and think it is pretty cool, but are other people getting this as well? Why would only certain movies come through, and other times the channels are blank, same goes for porn, only 5-10 minutes of a show will display, then go blank and the channel will then be "not authorized"? You'd think it would work all of the time or never... Also of interest is the movies when playing all have a skip about every 10 seconds, so it is hard to watch because you end up missing a word of dialogue every 10 seconds or so...

Time Warner is so unsupportive of cablecards that I fear for their adoption in the mainstream, the worst thing about them is programming information, other than channel name, there is none. My Sony manual states that some companies can put programming information on to them, but it seems that TimeWarner is too lazy to do so, or the type of card I have may not support it? Maybe Sony is putting it in the manuals because 2.0 cards will support it? TimeWarner says it is because they are not 2-way devices and cannot send data back to the station, and that would make sense for the pay-per-view or on-demand services because they need to send and receive signals, but for programming information, this should not apply, because this would be a one way data transmission in that the station sends information along with the video? And it is a sad excuse from such a rich company...

Does anybody get Programming Information? If so, what company?

Thanks for any comments!

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Very interesting.

I have a Sony KV34XBR960 with CableCard and I was just about to the point of asking virtually the same thing.

Every Sunday Night/Monday Morning after midnight some station runs their test. I am usually watching Satellite on a YPbPr connection by then. Yet I get the same message you are referring to.

However, I *believe* it will actually run for hours unless you do something to acknowledge it. I have not figured out exactly WHAT that something is. It eventually will disappear but I am not 100% sure of what is really getting rid of it as I have attempted to change inputs or etc to find out. I am still not EXACTLY sure what the "it" is even at this point as I have changed inputs and it sticks around.

The reason you are seeing certain movies and things for a time is that someone in your area ordered a PPV and you are seeing it. There have been a number of discussion on this if you search the threads. You might even see them stopping and rewinding the movie during many of these "free views".

As for the label, the Sony can display a channel description, i.e. CNN, ESPN, ESPNC etc. The local company, who used to be a TW Company, had no idea what I was speaking of when I told them of this - specificially because 4 channels were labelled Test1, Test2, Test3 and Test4.

A supervisor made the trip out to the house and immediately realized that these were internal codes they used in the HeadEnd and they HAD NO IDEA THEY WERE TRANSMITTED TO THE FIELD.

Despite all that, I still have several "TEST#" labels almost 2 years later.

Also remember that cable does not re-transmit the PSIP info on the HD Channels that would have additional program info which is what I assume you are talking about - as opposed to just a 5 character channel name.
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I'll answer your question if you edit your post to get rid of that horrid, unreadable color you picked for your text.
I would answer your question but I can't read orange on white.
While I don't disagree that his text color sucks, how do you know you can answer his question if you can't read it?
That's peculiar, I've never experienced anything of the sort with my Sony DHG-HDD500 (CableCARD DVR) I think the tuning into the PPV channels and not immediately getting the 'Not Authorized' is an issue with the local TWC setup. I'm with TWC too and I always get 'Not Authorized' immediately.


Interestting that you'd choose a font color that's even less readable on White when complaining about somebody else's font color.

The EAS banner is required by the FCC for Cable co's. Even with Cable Cards. If it's not going away then TW has there EAS duration set to loooooooong.

The free 10-15 mins of video could be a few things. First, we need to make the distinction of VOD (Video on Demand) and IPPV (Impulse Pay Per View). VOD is a session base service. Client to server communication. When the session gets set up it is narrowed down to a service group then a node. Now, If there is no session base encryption, anyone in your node area will be able to view that session if there set is programed to do so. This is easily acomplished. An IPPV movie is like a premium channel with a buy window overlayed. In order for you to decrypt the channel you will need to agree to pay, this can only be acomplished through the set top box at this time. It's most likely that you are seeing VOD streams in your node area again, this is due to your local cable co not encrypting those sessions between server and client.

It is also possible that packages created in the HE for testing IPPV channels were inadvertently added to your account. This, depending how the packages are set up, can give you access to those channels without seeing the buy window.

I would call your local office about the EAS alert being to long. One thing you need to make sure of, is that this alert you are seeing is being generated by the Cable Co and the a broadcaster.

Edit* Also, Program info is only available on broadcast digital stations if psip is enabled on the qam in the HE. You will not see any type of guide info being sent from your cable co to your set with a cable card.

I hope what info I provided helped. This was a very brief response.
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HDTVFanAtic - You're right, the other day the banner ran for over 30 minutes, it mentions something about running 15 minutes or so, but runs much longer than that... I would call the company, but I'm sure they will give some stupid response, because they want to have nothing to do with these things. When I got it installed, it took the 2 installers over an hour to install, having to call the station back and forth, and they seemed totally disgusted with CableCard...

It's possible that the "free views" are from neighbors, but we have watched quite a few and we've never seen them rewind or pause. Also the few minutes of porn seems to be like clock work, like :20-:30 and :40-:50 on the hour, but there are many times when there is nothing, so you're probably right, and TMTBoomer believes it is the same thing, VOD streams that are not encrypted between the server and an area node, clearly the company would find this a pretty big fault of cablecards, especially the full length movies, even though they are skippy...

Not sure what PSIP is, but I do get channel names, haven't noticed any Test channel names, and I realize that an Interactive Program Guide would be alot to ask of these cards, but it's just sad that this day in technology that at least the name of the show can't be simply transmitted along with the show and be displayed by this device...

c1courtney - Don't think it's a tuning problem, because I can surf channels and come back to the ones that were on "free view" and they still work, so it's like they are authorized for short periods of time, or for 1 entire hollywood movie at a time, sometime the hollywood movie plays several times in a row...

TMTBoomer - I've never noticed the banner on my set top boxes, I do notice they sometimes interrupt the audio with Emergency Tests, is that the equivalent? If so, they need to do the same thing with CableCard, and stop invading our every video input mode...

You're saying that it may be up to the broadcaster and not the cable company to stop it?

Thanks for the replies!

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I have an issue that is different but possibly related. Since I bought my TV in October and had the CableCard installed, every roughly 3-5 weeks many HD and digital channels (but not all) will suddenly come in corrupted, not just tiling but smearing and characters in some blocks like a you would see in a decryption error. Over the past 6 months I've talked to Comcast, Toshiba and a local repair center about possible causes and solutions.

Toshiba is not aware of the issue but had me upgrade to the latest S/W. Comcast has been pretty good and already swapped the CableCard out twice. But the problem occurs like clockwork every 3-5 weeks and when it occurs it happens in pairs (twice in 2-3 days) then it's fine again for another 3-5 weeks. I've even tried 2 full factory resets but no good. When the problem occurs, the only way to fix it is to unplug the TV (power reset) which indicates a S/W issue.

Here's where I am:

- Signal level verified as well above minimum levels.

- TV S/W is the latest 1.3.1.

- In the CC Diag menus, I've discovered that only channels with Copy Protection Key Enabled are the ones with the corruption problem. This to me seems to be a significant commonality as not all HD channels have it enabled AND some SD channels have it enabled (i.e. CNN). Again, all these channels come in corrupt.

- My Motorola CC has F/W rev. 4.05. I have Comcast coming out to replace it with one with the latest 4.21 F/W this weekend.

After several months of investigating and observing the patterns of this problem, I suspect that something is either being sent to the CC every few weeks or some encryption key update process is occuring and it never makes it all the way resulting in the TV's tuner getting hosed. A power reset forces the CC to initialize it's authentication from scratch so it cleanly comes up at that time.

Does anyone have any insight into what could cause this, such as invalid signals from the CableCo side? There's obviously an interaction issue between the CC and the TV (I really believe the link is the Copy Protection Key Enabled), but Toshiba claims it's not on their end, so I'm hoping the new CC S/W addresses it.
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